- CREW, a government watchdog organisation, accused Jen Psaki, Press Secretary of Hatch Act violations.
- Psaki stated Thursday that Biden backs Terry McAuliffe, Democrat in Virginia’s gubernatorial election.
- Kayleigh McEnany, former press secretary, also accuses Psaki for violating the Hatch Act.
WASHINGTON — Government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington accused White House press secretary Jen Psaki Friday of violating the Hatch Act after her comments on the Virginia gubernatorial race.
When asked about the governor’s race during a Thursday press briefing, Psaki said Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has the backing of President Joe Biden.
Psaki made the statement just weeks prior to the November 2 elections, “I think that the President would like former Governor McAuliffe as the future governor in Virginia.” “We’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.”
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CREW addressed a letter to the White House Office of Special Counsel requesting an investigation into whether Psaki violated the Hatch Act — a federal law prohibiting executive branch employees from “activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, partisan political candidate, or partisan political group.”
The letter says that Ms. Psaki appeared to have used her authority and influence in order to interfere with the outcome of the election by mixing government business with the support of a candidate in partisan political office weeks before it was held, as well as engaging in politics while she was on duty. This is illegal.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Psaki said Friday to Jake Tapper of CNN that Biden and she take ethics seriously.
According to my understanding, it would have not been a problem if I used the slang ‘he’ rather than ‘we’. “Words certainly do matter, and I will be much more cautious with what I speak next time,” she stated.
CREW wrote a similar note to White House Counsel in the spring of this year. Psaki tweets Biden “clearly opposes any effort to recall Gavin Newsom.” Newsom won September’s historic recall election.
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also criticized Psaki Thursday, Twitter: Psaki must be held responsible by media
She said that although engaging in First Amendment-related political activities is fine, they must be conducted separately and independently from the podium.
McEnany’s tweet got a lot of response, many reflecting on her personal experiences. The former press secretary has also met with past allegations of Hatch Act violations for doubling as Trump’s campaign adviser during his 2020 run for reelection.
Trump’s 2020 Republican presidential nominee acceptance speech at the White House raised additional concerns about Hatch Act violations.
“The shamelessness, ah the shamelessness…” MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, host of the “Mehdi Hasan Show,” Above is a repost McEnany’s tweet
Contributing to The Associated Press
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